This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
This method of intimidation, or of forcing a suggestion upon the undeveloped personality, is the method of the stage hypnotist, and is the method employed by Freud to extort from the subconsciousness of the undeveloped hysterical patient a revelation of his most intimately guarded psychic processes, as is clearly shown by Freud's description of his technic, though he carefully omits a record of the suggestions given to the patient, which would prove the correctness of my assertion.
The reader must study Freud himself, as shown in his writings, to appreciate the dominating power of his suggestions in his effort to invade the secret precincts of the human soul, or to understand how he exacts from the subconsciousness of his patients the repressed ideas which were incompatible with the wishes of the conscious ego, and were producing the disagreeable feelings responsible for the symptomatic manifestations.
In so far as the principle, or theory, is concerned, when not carried to the extreme of forcing the individual neurotic to reveal the remote and innocent experiences of childhood, it contains much that is sane, sound, practical, and useful. But the application of the principle involved has its limitations, and these are not recognized by Freud or set forth in his writings. The method as advocated by him is liable to produce untold harm, even to the extent of inciting the patient, under certain conditions, to self-destruction, or to be so painfully self-conscious of his or her shortcomings that it is capable of rendering life more unbearable, and will serve to add to the severity of the neurosis instead of remedying it.
Be it far from me to discredit the theories and technic elucidated by Freud, and described in his writings, which have been accepted by so many able physicians as "scientific psychotherapy." On the other hand, let us not forsake or discredit the results of our own investigations which have proved to be of practical utility in the hands of thousands of conscientious American physicians.
In any department of human knowledge, coming as the result of painstaking investigation, we can react to the influence of ideas only according to our individual experience. Consequently, no two men can view the ideas obtained through personal association or from literature in the same light. It is in this spirit that I shall attempt an elucidation of psychoanalysis, for Freud's method can never be my method. All that I obtain from his theory and technic must go through the refining alembic of my own reasoning, and, whether it is or is not made to be of more practical utility to the reader by the resulting modification, will still remain a matter of individual viewpoint. My purpose is not to seek the approval of the small handful of pupils of Proud and Jung, but to exact the practical from the subconsciousness of the ideas presented by these men after the method of psychoanalysis, and give to the general practitioner an account of the underlying principles in such manner as to be of practical utility. I shall endeavor to make Freud's ideas conform to my individual viewpoint, though setting them forth for the judgment of the reader to decide for himself, and for the forthcoming distortion of the originator's concept the reader must not hold Freud entirely responsible.
If the result of my effort can give the reader only a sufficient glimpse into the subject of psychoanalysis to serve as an incentive to a further investigation of the Freudian theories, together with the evidence against his extreme theories as viewed by other writers, I will be more than compensated for the audacity manifested in undertaking to express my individual convictions on this subject.
My sixteen years of experience with the employment of psychotherapeutic procedures in all departments of medicine and surgery, in conjunction with all other sane and rational surgical, medicinal, hygienic, dietetic, and other therapeutic procedures, has been conserved as functionating complexes, which do not react to the stimulus of high-sounding theories like those newly created complexes only recently formed in virgin soil. In other words, I am unable to react to the teaching of Freud in the same manner as the man with little or no experience in the general application of psychotherapeutic procedures reacts to all classes of medical practice.
It was with intense interest that I read the reports of the cases treated by Freud, in the translation by Brill, entitled "Hysteria and the Psychoneuroses," as well as his addresses delivered on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the opening of Clarke University, translated from the German by Harry W. Chase, on "The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis." These contributions by Freud were of particular interest to me because of the strong similarity of his theories and practical technic, together with the radical differences of the same, to my own personal experiences, theories, and writings, though expressed in an entirely different terminology, and limited in its application by him to only a small field.
So far as his results from the employment of the psychoanalytic form of psychotherapy are concerned, I have herein reported a much greater variety of cases, showing the applicability of suggestion both with and without hypnosis, and employed in all varieties of medical and surgical practice. Moreover, so far as its application to the treatment of hysteria is concerned, I have reported many more cases, showing results obtained from the employment of the simpler methods in equally, if not more, difficult cases, and which were accomplished in only a small fraction of the time required Ity the technic described and elucidated by Freud, and not limited exclusively to the higher classes of intelligence, which he has most emphatically assured us are the only patients suitable for the employment of his method.
As many hystericals are, like the Christian scientists, inordinately proud of their superior "intelligence," this claim will no doubt catch many patients. In this claim for the adaptability of the method only to those of superior intelligence we discern a very clever use of disguised suggestion as a means of obtaining patients. A very good ruse, so far as the interest of the physician is concerned, but of no value for the interest of the scientific application of psychotherapy.